Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


My dear friend Michael Scott Daniel got married Saturday. Lang Thomas Photography shot some amazing pictures of the ceremony and reception. Yours truly even pops up in a couple pics, showing off some moves on the dance floor.

Scott, we're all very proud of you and Maria, we're still blown away you agreed to marry him.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Authentic & Delicious

"The defining characteristic of coffees grown on the slopes of Mt. Kenya is known in the coffee trade as "the blackcurrant taste." Absolutely unique to Kenya, this savory, fragrent, mouthwatering fruitiness has captivated generations of coffee tasters, and these coffees are known among coffee cognoscenti as the best of the best."
- Tasting notes of Counter Culture Coffee's Kenya Ndaroini-Nyeri

Couldn't agree more.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Regina Spektor

About a year ago, I was terrified that after releasing "Begin To Hope" Regina Spektor was going to slip into female singer-song writer obscurity. Thankfully, my fears were fallacious as her third LP, "So Far", is a remarkably mature album that has been well received by a wide audience.

Amazingly, Regina decided to finish her North American tour in Louisville, and I was fortunate enough to see her perform tonight at The Palace with a few friends. Granted, we had to brave an onslaught of adolescent girls whose existence is somehow given meaning by Regina's quirky lyrical imagery and wistful-yet-optimistic arrangements, but it was an obstacle/annoyance we were willing to face.

The set list:

The Calculation
Folding Chair
Ode to Divorce
Laughing With
One More Time With Feeling
Blue Lips
On The Radio
Dance Anthem of the 80's
Silly Eye-Color Generalizations
Bobbing for Apples
That Time
Apres Moi
Poor Little Rich Boy
Man of A Thousand Faces

Sailor Song
Hotel Song
Love You're A Whore

Sans "Musicbox", the concert was everything I expected and hoped. In fact, I think I would have been happy with just the encores. I was also glad to discover Regina spent most of the day exploring Louisville and informed us that is was a "$@*&ing awesome city."

That it is.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Installment Plan

Often people become hipsters/scenesters in increments, as their wardrobe and aesthetic sensibilities slowly shift one article of clothing at a time...

It's quite unfortunate when the first step is skinny low-rise chick jeans. Sometimes it's got to be all or nothing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ville Be Jammin

Tonight was the first ever Louisville Barista Jam hosted by Java's own Sarah W (of Cabin fame). Toto brought over his syphon/siphon set up and gave a very educational and tasty demonstration. Kenny gave some pointers for aspiring latte artists which led to a throw-down, which I believe was won by a well-infused rossetta poured by Darren Jennings, Sunergos's newest employee. Chuck led a blind taste testing which included local roasts and beans from leading shops all across the U.S., notably Intelligentsia and Velton. At least five shops were represented and clearly everyone had a great time.

Hopefully the first of many more to come!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Holiday at Sea

One of my favorite songs is "Holiday at the Sea" by Anathallo. The lyrics are as follows.

I looked down at my shoes, because I felt the drip

of blood fall from my hammer to the leather

through my socks. The knots kept tightening their

grip. The cords (chords) ring out the history, and

time is a mocker as a remedy. The preacher wore a suit,

I knew he would. The tiny print rice paper

books, I hated how they saw me so transparently.

This heart, my thread, I tried so hard. The best

that I could sew was death, no matter how I

covered it with deeds. What's there left to do?

Because the mud only covers up the stains... who

could imagine a holiday at the sea? Down there, in

the sea, I should hold my breath 'til this other

person's blood is washing off of me. Down there,

in the sea, I should hold my breath 'til this

other person's blood is washing over me.

It's difficult to trace the structure of the fragmented, stream-of-concious lyrics, but musically there's three movements. The song begins in solemn lament. At the beckoning of a pastor, the singer contemplates the crucifixion, and, rather graphically, takes personal responsibility. Acts 2:23 seems to be in view here.

His response is to try to make up for his crime through good works, which only yields futility and further despair.

The second movement is abrupt and unexpected. The pensive dirge erupts into a jubilant chorus, filled with horns, shout-outs, and all of Anathallo's other glorious peculiarities. This is salvation, redemption, regeneration. Having reached the end of himself, the singer experiences divine grace. Musically, the sheer magnitude clearly makes this the focal point of the song, as further evidence by appearance of the song's title, which is a quote from C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity:

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

The third movement settles into what is a best understood as the synthesis of the first two movements. The broodiness has returned, but is decidedly optimistic. Having experienced divine grace in movement two, the singer now struggles with the application of his new faith. Although he is is still conflicted, he is trusting in Jesus' atoning sacrifice for his salvation.

In recent years, Anathallo has incorporated lyrics from Hannah Marcus's song "Laos" in their live performance of "Holiday at the Sea", which form an inclusio to the original lyrics. This additional element creates a brilliant juxtaposition.

he was a pretty boy

stayed at our house

he took his girlfriend and

they went off to Laos

they took a photo there

of his heart

somethings you should never see

somethings you should never see

somethings you should never see

but there they are

there they are

at the last supper sits

jesus christ

neath his disciples fits

some device

holding double A batteries

on the side

and make the halo

circling round his head

twinkle on and off in red

as he holds up a piece of bread

and rolls his eyes

rolls his eyes

how could that poet stay

such a phrase

never look an angel straight

in the face

he knows they like to wait in the strangest places

motel rooms pharmacies

photographs batteries

some things you should never see

some things you should never see

but hey

you see them anyway


This song seems to be a personal struggle with the problem of evil and suffering. When faced with the tragedy of a close friend's brutal death, the songwriter seeks some sort of rational or meaning, but reaches no conclusion. The commercial, electronic Jesus the singer knows (most likely in American evangelicalism) is disinterested and offers no consolation.

While I am uneasy with such imagery, I can concur. An etheral, disinterested savior offers no solution to our sin (movement one) or suffering (Laos). However, the biblical Jesus took on real flesh and blood and lived among us, bore our sins on the cross and conquered death in the resurrection. This Jesus, the real Jesus, freely offers true grace and authentic comfort.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I don't know if panel discussions are ever helpful."
-Aaron Hung

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quote of the Day

"There is an indeterminacy on the level of our conscious experience irrespective of any indeterminacy at the level of the brian."
-Donald Mackay

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Bitter Irony of the Service Industry

Proposition 1: The more people that come into my coffee shop at once, the longer it is going to take to get each person their drink.

Proposition 2: The more people I make drinks for at once, the harder I have to work.

Proposition 3: The longer it takes to be served, the less American consumers are willing to tip for services (beverage quality is largely irrelevant).

Conclusion: The harder I have to work, the less I will be tipped, as evidenced by today's shift.

In other words, worst shift ever.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Osso and the BQE at 21c

Brooklyn-based string quartet Osso performed a selection of songs from their album Run Rabbit Run at 21c last night. The album is a re-envisioning of Sufjan's obscure second album, Enjoy Your Rabbit, an advent garde instrumental electronica project which has eluded the mainstream success of his other albums.
If it sounds just crazy enough to work, it's because it does. The exceptional musicianship and clever arranging of each song captured my attention immediately and almost made me forget that Sufjan didn't show up like he was suppose it. The chaotic dissonance of "Year of the Monkey" was a befitting foil to the delicate aura of "Year of Our Lord". "Year of the Dragon" was as imaginative as it was energetic and "Year of the Boar" was a compelling climax to the set. Osso's musical flexibility was beautifully demonstrated by the accompaniment of opener DM Stith.
The BQE was a fascinating but frustrating film. Visually and musically it encapsulated Sufjan's meticulous attention to detail in the midst of lavish grandeur. The continual use of mirrored images towards the end felt repetitive, but the rather absurd (and completely unexpected) electronic overture reminded me why I feel in love with Sufjan's music in the first place.
However, many fans will be left hypothesizing about how many states he could have covered in the year and a half he spent on this film.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Evangelical Mavericks

Our old friends at Carver 319 have out grown their dormitory days and are now blogging as Evangelical Mavericks, an apt moniker to be sure. It hasn't even been a week and they already have put out some stimulating material. Keep up the good work guys.